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Summer Jam is a highly popular hip hop music festival. It is held annually, usually during the month of June, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The event is sponsored by the famous New York based radio station, Hot 97FM. It brings together popular R&B acts to perform their hits live before a huge crowd of music lovers, belonging to different age groups and backgrounds.

If you want to ensure your presence at the highly anticipated summer gala this year, purchase your Summer Jam tickets in advance.


During the early 1990s, the American radio station WQHT, also known as Hot 97 was going through a period of transition. The ratings were dropping and the station was trying to switch to an urban format, one that would promote the rap and R&B culture. The transformation was slow but by October of 1993, Hot 97 had become a full-time hip hop radio station. Rap veterans Dr. Dre and Ed Lover were signed as morning show hosts and the slogan of the channel was Where Hip Hop Lives.

What Hot 97 now needed was a branding event. Hence Steve Smith, the programming director at the time came up with the idea of a tent pole annual music concert. The staff at Hot 97 had previously organized events such as Hot Night New York. But these were mostly small scale events featuring emerging music artists such as Young Black Teenagers. This was the first time it would take up the task of putting together a large scale event.

The name Summer Jam was inspired by the summer concert organized by San Francisco’s urban contemporary radio station, KMEL.

Initially no venue in New York City was interested in hosting the inaugural Summer Jam event. Hot 97 then went into partnership with Metropolitan Entertainment’s Carl Freed. Owing to Freed’s old association with the Meadowlands Arena, he succeeded in convincing the management to host the event. However certain conditions were laid for security purposes. Among these was an agreement that the arena would not entertain specific acts as part of the lineup. The list included Ice Cube, Ice-T, LL Cool J, Masta Ace, Public Enemy, N.W.A and Tupac. Besides, the lineup selected would require prior approval from the Meadowlands management.

With all the above mentioned terms and conditions, the first Summer Jam event took place at the Meadowlands Arena (now known as the IZOD Center) in East Rutherford on June 21, 1994. It included live performances by artists including Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, Nas and Wu-Tang Clan.

To the delight of the management, the first Summer Jam was a major success. It drew a huge and diverse crowd of all ages. This also represented the fact that hip hop is essentially enjoyed by diverse communities and generations. In a few years’ time, tickets to the event would sell out even before the official announcement of the lineup.

Over the years the festival has grown into one of the most anticipated events among hip hop fans. It has hosted several artists, numerous guest appearances and has also attracted some controversies along the way. It also has the honor of being graced by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Some Highlights

Although Jay-Z had performed at the Summer Jam 1999, his act at the 2001 event is the most memorable. He played the songs H to the Izzo and The Takeover from his sixth studio album The Blueprint. The crowd couldn’t help but sing along to his tunes. The record, which had been released the same year, also turned out to be a massive hit.

The Summer Jam 1997 lineup featured two of the biggest hip hop names of the time, Wu-Tang Clan and Puff Daddy. Unfortunately, on March 9, The Notorious B.I.G. also known as Biggie Smalls passed away. Puff Daddy put together a tribute for the late rapper which was received very well by the audience. It was one of the most emotional moments the Summer Jam festival had ever witnessed.

A little over a decade ago, in 2007, the audience at the Sumer Jam was treated to an exciting on stage battle between rappers Kanye West and Swizz Beatz. The people were constantly engaged throughout the gig and knew every single song by heart. It was a rather creative way to keep the attention of the audience throughout the act. Even by watching the video, it is hard to determine as to which music artist actually won.

Hot 97 Summer Jam 2015 was a big success. It hosted both well-known as well as upcoming music acts. Among the established music artists were Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Ty Dolla Sign, Big Sean and Omarion. Besides it were the surprise guests and on stage live collaborations that made the event unique and much more entertaining. Chris Brown performed with French Montana as well as with G-Unit. Fabolous also surprised the fans by bringing on stage a number of renowned rap artists from the 1990s and early 2000s. These included names such as Method Man, Red Man, Busta Rhymes, Remy Ma and Lil Kim. Together these artists put together an event that many won’t forget for a long time. 

Cheap Summer Jam Tickets

Like every year, the Summer Jam 2018 will feature veterans, emerging artists as well as guest acts. Although the lineup for the event has not been announced yet, it goes without saying that it will be a thoroughly entertaining music affair. Cheap Summer Jam tickets are currently available so purchase yours quickly. Given the anticipation surrounding the event, prices of the tickets may go up as the event draws closer.

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